12 Days Of Dino Dicember #18: Cowgirls Vs Pterodactyls (2021)

In the spirit of exploiting terms like “gender equality” and “inclusive”, i had to follow up my review of Cowboys VS Dinosaurs with this one, because everyone (aside from nazis, fascists, and their “variants”) is welcome to make its own bad movie about dinosaurs, with effects that really stretch the modern goodwill towards crap movies to excuse stuff that’s embarassing even by film student standards.

So cowgirls can fight the other – and honestly more represented in cinema – group of specific dinosaurs, because we’ll pretend we can’t afford to create any other dinosaur that isn’t a pterodactyl.

I do like pterodactyls (and Aerodactyls), so whatever, what plot brings these two factions to fight for the fate of the land without having to kidnap emperors?

A stolen husband. Yep. One day a teacher’s husband is pteronapped, so she enlist the helps of a prostitute and a gunslinger (a rpg class not represented in the title, for shame) to save his ass.

One thing i was hoping for is them trying to do this as “period piece”… and they do!

Yeah, it’s supposedly set in 1860s, with the help of abudant stock old timey photos to help as expected, people dressed in mostly appropriate period costumes and talking in the expected western way, even a narration to introduce the premise and the acts… but the dialogues are clearly not even trying to emulate the expected way of speaking or acting in a western, with bordello ladies utting words like “furries” and discussing what to do like attendees at a sci-fi comic convention, for comedy’s sake, and i will admit, some exchanges and deliberately awkward jokes are funny.

The pterodactyls themselves are in stop-motion, which i wasn’t fully expecting, but it’s a nice nod to tradition, just keep in mind the budget at hand, don’t go looking for the new Ray Harryhausen because you’re not gonna find his reincarnation or something here. Just know it’s WAY better than anything Mark Polonia or Brett Piper concocted in their backyards, noticeably so, at least for the animation itself, composition it’s lousy, as the creatures are never photographed in a way that makes them look big, they often look very small and so by comparison make some doors appear comically large when a pterodactyl flies out, as if stuck in the Tiny Huge Island stage from Super Mario 64.

Everything is pretty much what you would expect from this type of homegrown cinema, one with some semblance of ambition and dignity, so it never feels “professional”, but it’s a step above the usual strain, as the actors seem to have some experience and not just be friends and neighbours of the director that have never been on camera, there some effort in trying to put the illusion of this being once upon a time in the wild wild west within the expected limitations.

This doesn’t change the fact that the plot gets a while to start actually going proper, which is kinda odd since this is one of those low budget “uber indie” b-movies that has the right idea of keeping it short, but even with a runtime barely above 70 minutes it’s a slog, i won’t lie.

Pity because everything else is in place for a good trashy fun time, but sadly Cowgirls VS Pterodactyls really doesn’t have much in the way of entertaiment value, most of the comedy bits (aside from being a bit too modern, as pointed out before) just kinda fall flat, when the gags aren’t just downright unfunny AND obnoxious (like the characters), making it even harder to sit through a movie with a boring narrative that moves at snails pace and throws so many “jokes” (the obvious lack of any soundproofing or ADR doesn’t help) only to pad its incredibly short running time.

Sadly the fun scenes of monster stop-motion action are not enough to save the movie, they aren’t, and i feel bad having to say it, because this has more production values than expected, there is some genuine effort, but it’s still notably bad, very unfunny for a comedy and it’s a tiresome slog, as it feels WAY longer than its 73 minutes runtime.

It’s not the worst, but still, not recommended, though i value the effort put here.

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